red tulips | copyright Jill J. Jensen

 

 

Space Weather

resources to track the cosmic phenomena that affect life on Earth

 

Yes, we muddle along every day, not thinking much about how the sun and other objects in the sky affect what we do here on land. If the light is there, it's all good.

But lots of activity going on "up there" has an impact on what we do "down here." Solar flares can create electromagnetic storms and a solar wind that reaches Earth and disrupts our communications. When something hits a satellite orbiting the planet, your favorite TV show, BlackBerry, iPhone, or landlines may fritz out unexpectedly.

Well, actually, now you can expect it — or at least see what scientists predict. The information you need is online at the SpaceWeather website, something for more than just astronomy buffs.

If you're a ham radio operator or a pilot, you'll find information to help you prevent signal blackouts or pick the best time for your transmissions. And if you just like to be "in the know" about everything in the universe, you can look over the shoulder of the scientists who track the effects of solar flares on Earth's atmosphere and what else is going on outside the boundaries of our atmosphere.

Beyond the really far-out-in-space stuff, the SpaceWeather website offers resources to help you track the appearances of aurora borealis. You'll also enjoy a gallery of images of noctilucent clouds, those glowing wisps that can streak the sky after sunset. Other photo galleries show solar phenomena such as sun dogs, sun pillars, and rainbows.

Just take a look. Don't let the geek-speak intimidate you. The images are fantastic and the information is fascinating.

 

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